The President of Georgia signed amendments to two laws that pertain to the country's two most critical areas: the medical sector and the protection of intellectual rights. Despite some questions raised by the amendments to both laws, President Zourabichvili decided not to use her veto power, taking into consideration the challenges and new needs faced by these sectors.
The amendments to the Health Protection Law aim to reduce potential risks to health and life in the sector and enhance quality control. These objectives are widely welcomed and non-controversial, although the frequency and strictness of sector controls may potentially hinder activities. Conducting unplanned inspections without prior court permission and frequent planned controls provide administrative supervision certain leverage to influence the sector if desired. Hence, close attention to the enforcement conditions of these new mechanisms is necessary to ensure that the law is not selectively applied and that the changes do not threaten the full and independent functioning of the healthcare sector.
Regarding the changes in the protection of intellectual rights law, it can be observed that their adoption brings our legislation closer to European standards and improves the protection of authors' rights to some extent. However, as a result of these changes, there is a risk and probability that an organization directly subordinated to the Russian parent company will gain an exclusive position in this domain, similar to what has happened in other countries. This poses certain risks for the country, as this mechanism may become a tool in the hands of Russia to bolster its soft power and influence in the creative and intellectual sector, which, in principle, should be the most free and impartial, by controlling financial levers.
Hence, after this law comes into effect, the authors of the amendments, the authorities, and supporters of these amendments bear a significant responsibility to mitigate these risks.
President Zourabichvili expresses her readiness to cooperate with representatives of the sectors and society in both directions.